challenges, dare to be different

5 Words Fast

Find 5 words quick that sum up your identity. Do the exercise quickly. If you are not done yet, you took too long.

Now that you have five words, drop 2. I bet that was hard.

Drop another word off the list. I bet that was harder.

Now you reached the crossroad! You have two words left. You must drop one more word. What did you choose? Is it accurate?

This a great activity for a family, a work group, a group of lifetime friends, or just your spouse.

I did this within a business setting for a work activity. It was interesting. My word was experience. I liked my outcome. My life experience defines me. These same experiences shape me. This activity was a good one and this why I am sharing.

I did this with my daughter who is a teen. It was confirmation of how she views herself in that awkward life time. I did the exercise with a few others and the outcomes were eye opening for some and predictable for others.

No matter what the outcome, I encourage you to try this exercise on yourself. Pass it on to somebody new. You may learn something cool about yourself and others.

Embrace the awkward and go for it. 5 words. Just five words. Now remind yourself on a calendar for one year from now. See if your five words change.

When you are cooped up for a while and the board games get boring try this activity to shake it up. You can also change the five words to five things you can’t live without given the state we live in currently. Be flexible and remember to revisit this exercise in a year. It will be great to see how your mind may shift in time.

Good luck!

awareness

22 WOD to End Veteran Suicide

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The facts are stark and grim.

Approximately 22 veterans die by suicide each day.  The Official WOD to End Veteran Suicide aims to bring awareness to this issue through fitness and fundraising.

I had seen this event advertised for two years.  But, it always fell during the CrossFit Open which seemed to swallow up mine and my gym community’s attention.  With the Open’s move to the fall months, this year was the year to take the dare and lead the event at my home gym.  This was a challenge for me on multiple levels.

I’ll talk about the logistics in a later post, but for now I just want to honor the event itself, those who participated, and what I learned about the issue behind the event.

Suicide has a personal meaning to me.  My grandmother died by suicide when I was young. Adding insult to memory, I was made to feel shame over and disgust for what she did. I will share that story at some point down the road, but just for that reason, bringing suicide into the light and open conversation has become more important to me in my adult life.

The veteran connection is not as direct for me.  I have immense respect for the military, their families, and the sacrifices they make for my freedom and liberty.  I don’t pretend to know what they go through, but I try to keep learning how to be more aware, ask questions, and listen.

Organizing this event brought me learning I could not have predicted.  It turns out that multiple people in our gym community are veterans themselves who have struggled with PTSD and lost friends and family to suicide.  Opening up conversations about this enabled a new level of connection and empathy in me.

Perhaps the most profound moments of the morning were when, in line with the rules of the workout, we stopped every 22 minutes for 22 seconds of silence, to remember those who have died by suicide. After a morning of logistics, setup, money collection, answering questions, I finally got to do the workout myself. When the moment of silence came, I was overcome with emotion.

I am not a good “off the cuff” speaker. I knew I wanted to say a little something, so I shared this before the workout began. I hope this, along with some photos, gives you a sense of the event. I encourage you to dare to step forward and add your voices and your effort to the causes that matter to you this year.

————————

Murph, DT, Chad. Names many of us know. The famous hero WODS of CrossFit. Some of the hardest most intense workouts we do in the CrossFit Community.

Today we are here for different names and different heroes. Heroes named Cook, White, Ambrose, Love and many more. These names are all veterans, friends and family of those here today, who have died by suicide. Their stories may be less famous. Their wounds may be less visible. But those wounds are just as real and their loss is just as honorable and deeply felt.

As you go through the movements, many have names underneath them. The names of those friends and family. So think of them as we put for our sweat and effort and resources and attention to their wounds, their suffering, their heroism, and ultimately, to contribute to changing the lives of veterans after they return home. Your efforts today support Operation Ward 57 through their hope and courage programs…these provide service dogs and hotline support to veterans. I know many of us are familiar with the healing that comes with faithful canine companions and a listening ear at the time we need it most.

Our last movement, the sprints, has no name…it is for the many who suffer in silence. Who are still fighting. Who are still running even though they are exhausted, in pain, may feel they have very little left. We dig deep and keep going. So today isn’t for rounds or for reps or for time. Today’s efforts are simply for them.

dare to be different, friendship

A Little Chick Story

I am sure some of you are looking for a flirty chick flick type of story, but this is just a chick story about where we got our start. Boring to some but memorable to us.

2 Chicks and a Pen met on the lacrosse field. One chick on each side of the fence which is so symbolic to our overall bond and relation in general. One chick was a coach and one chick was a spectator. A particular spectator who spent most days hiding under an umbrella avoiding the sun, the shade, people, and rain on any given day. The coach however was loud and in-your-face kind of coach which was what made the two most unlikely to be paired in the way we are today.

An unlikely duo developed a friendship first through their kids. Then quickly friends turned into extended family. From there the friendship developed into a deep-rooted partnership that took on the brand that we know today as 2 Chicks and a Pen.

3 children’s books published, a business formed, countless blog adventures documented, thousands of fans around the world, and so many memories made. From napkin scribbles at a local restaurant to book signings to field research destinations, we have experienced so much on our path and we have so more ahead of us.

The picture below shows us running a 15k together this month. We have also run a half marathon, some 5k extreme races and some 10k races together. I’m sure when we started writing together running races wasn’t even a blip on the radar. Now we schedule fitness events throughout the year. This is just one of the ways we have grown in love of fitness, friendship and ability to share stories with others.

The way the story goes, we launched in 3 days according to Chick 2, but that’s fairly inaccurate. We actually have several years under our belt currently. Originally we connected almost immediately but that’s not 3 days or even 3 weeks. We began using writing prompts as a way to get to know each other. We traded countless hours writing and chatting. Trust followed.

Soon after, 2 Chicks and a Pen hatched as a legitimate business entity. Goals were set. Timelines established. Projects mapped out on the horizon. We went on to naturally evolve as writers, motivators, athletes and so much more. Our story is unique to us. Nobody will be able to replicate our vision.

The creative spark we have is definitively categorized as amazing. Our timeline is limitless. Our zest for life and sharing it on a large scale is fearless. Our opposite personalities is part of the dynamic. We just do things the #2chx way.

Our journey has had many twists and turns and ups and downs to say the least. We live life so it’s expected. Juggling families, careers, life and our own personal journeys. Somehow on our path Chick 2 joined the Crossfit movement and hasn’t looked back. We did some research and development on nutrition and used ourselves as guinea pigs. Some of these stories we share on this very blog. That’s just one of the side bars that spun off of 2 Chicks. One of many.

We took the road less traveled. We are a legal business entity. We register our business and pay taxes each year. We have a big online presence yet we are active in our community. We have an expensive hobby but we set out with a goal to improve lives through literacy. Whether we write on paper, print our stories in book form or write online we are communicating in our grandest fashion. We are succeeding at our mission and leaving a literal legacy behind.

Word wizards of sorts. We have so much to share some days that we are busting at the seams. While other days we may suffer from writer’s block and can’t string a sentence together. One chick may hold on to featured articles for days or weeks or even months on end until they reach perfection. One chick may write away fast in the moment but has to rewrite several times to correct typos. It’s a creative process for us. We do it over and over and love every opportunity we can sink our teeth into.

My favorite memory to date is reading our stories to kids and having them ask questions about us, our writing process and the whys behind the stories. When they realize what’s beyond the book itself their curiosity sparks. I want to be a writer! I want to be an illustrator! I want to make a cartoon book with my friend! Those innocent but curious minds are in growth mode. Exposing them to our stories lets them see opportunities for themselves. Infinite opportunities.

Chick 1’s writing process is notably different than Chick 2’s. Neither is wrong or right, just different. We are constantly evolving and choosing our path(s) as we mature in our creative minds. Keep watching.

We appreciate you joining in on our public ride or chickscapades whether it’s one post you read or many. We leave a trail of chick dust here, there and everywhere. You may see us on the web, maybe you follow us on Instagram, maybe you catch our tweets, maybe you are one of our local pals who knows us around town. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, we love you.

As Valentine’s week is upon us. We wanted to share a little of our inside story to you. As a sort of love story for the world. Our love of literacy. Our passion for serving others through words. Who doesn’t love a good back story.

Give us a like online. A social share. Be our Valentine this year. Send us a sweet note. A quick feedback note can let us know what you like about our brand. If you don’t like us it’s okay, we know we are not a one-size-fits-all model. That’s why you can choose to visit our page or invest in our books.

2 Chicks’ next public event is on 2/22/20, an event honoring Veterans and supporting suicide prevention efforts, which is near and dear to both Chicks’ hearts. If you are interested in getting involved check out this link. You can donate online.

http://www.official22wod.com/

Happy Valentine’s week!

balance, celebrations, Uncategorized

31 Days 2020 Style

Last year I blogged about my 31 days in January as it was the first month of my #1095days project. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary when I made the post, however I thought about how I needed to repeat this task each year to see how my life changed, if it changed at all. I made the calendar reminder and here we are with a post update. Here goes…

January just seems like the longest month ever generally speaking. During the month it may feel like a year has passed, but it is actually just one month. One single month of 31 days. Each day representing a day to make a difference in the world some way, somehow. Master planning for the year or recapping the previous year? Each year may be different based on environmental conditions and life in general, but the year always starts with 31 days in the month of January.

Over the past year my home environment changed. My workspace changed. I added a puppy to the mix which is close to resembling having a newborn in diapers. I adjusted to loved ones having health issues. I traveled to new places. I lived life, basically. I had no regrets.

Add the cold and chilling January weather, rain, rain and more rain and that equates to another whole level of awful. Sprinkle on a busy schedule and those 31 days were gone before you know it. Or maybe the 31 days go fast because I am always waiting for February to arrive. February is my birth month. I am always looking forward to February. Once February comes and goes it’s time to think warm weather, sunshine and vacations on the horizon or maybe it is just because the chill in the air is starting to depart.

Just as I did last year, this is a memory tracker where I write down 31 significant or interesting things that transpired in my life in January. May be boring to some but it’s part of my story. 10 years from now, I may not be around. If for some reason I am not around, my loved ones can see how my life view was in this snapshot of time. That is a pretty cool time capsule, if you ask me. Here is my 31-day reflection to start this month with a bang.

1. I attended a vision board party. This was a blast and I recommend it every January.
2. I completed a weighted CrossFit workout with my friend again. We now have an annual event!
3. I got tattooed. I didn’t even realize it was an annual thing until I did this exercise!
4. I booked travel to seven different states, all for different reasons.
5. I toured an assisted living facility. This was an experience in itself.

6. I wrapped up a coaching session with an awesome millennial. She is ready to soar on her own.
7. I gained weighed and lost weight. This surely hasn’t changed year to year.
8. I tracked my nutrition consistently. This may be a reset for many this time of year.
9. I worked on my 2020 goals like a boss. I have some lofty goals this year.
10. I rode my bike 20 miles in one ride to celebrate 2020.
11. I worked out on a Sunday at 5am with crazy friends.
12. I worked on taxes for multiple entities which is so boring, but I am ahead of past years.
13. I organized a large event and it went off without a glitch.
14. I signed up for a mud run and 10k race out of state.
15. I took a jump rope class.
16. I managed a concrete expansion project at a property I own.
17. I got a massage which I guess I did last year. Self-care matters.
18. I spent time with family and friends. This hasn’t changed since last year.
19. I made kale soup for the first time. This was so good.
20. I coached lacrosse. Watching my team grow is amazing but this is my last year coaching!
21. I took on more responsibilities on the work front. I just volunteer too much.
22. I cheered my daughter on during basketball games.
23. I dealt with a tenant full of excuses for this, that and the other.
24. I got to dress shop with my daughter for her first big dance event.
25. I got my hair cut. I did this last year, too.
26. I had a water leak at a property I own. This was not fun. It was expensive though.
27. I shopped on Amazon a little bit, but maybe not as much as last year.
28. I shopped local as well and this is a big goal for me in 2020.
29. I blogged. I blogged a lot more than last year.
30. I solidified a sale of a house. No more expensive storage space.
31. I planned for some upcoming challenges on the horizon. Fingers crossed all goes well.

2020 was the start of a new year, a new beginning mixed with new friends and old friends. It’s funny when you look at who is around your circle, who has passed by, who is excluded and who you are feeling lucky to have welcomed into your circle. I am thankful for opportunities on the horizon and at peace with all that is part of my history aka the past.

Last year I wrote: Even when life tosses you to the wolves, we are still empowered to find our inner sunshine and really just seize the day, the week, the month. I can safely say I feel the exact today as I did a year ago in relation to this statement. Each day is a new page in my story book. It could be a day of adventure or a day of emotional highs and lows. No matter how my day flows, I get back up and start again the next day looking for sunshine. Coincidentally, today I get a message from my friend stating: Love you and all the sunshine you bring to my life…. As you read future posts you will often see why the word sunshine is so meaningful to me. #buddy

In 2019, I wrote: Keep on keeping on and take a moment to reflect on your January. If you had only one day left on earth what would you do with your day? This rings a bell to me since I put out a 2020 challenge to my readers regarding what will you do with an hour a day. Funny how life circles around.

This year I will sign off with, Happy Birth Month to ME. Looking forward to this time next year when I review my 31 days again. I love new traditions. I wonder if I will have another tattoo in January of 2021?